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Is the Deal Done?


You have heard the rumors…..and so have I. Stories abound all around the Lexington area that a preliminary deal has been reached with Billy Donovan to become UK coach with a 5-7 year deal averaging between 3 and 3.5 million dollars. This news has been message board fodder for the last couple of days and tonight, the Cats Pause lended their two cents by putting the rumor on the front page of the site. The UK fan base is abuzz at the possibilities and excitement is raging at the possibility of a new era in Kentucky basketball.

But that raises the question, is it true? Simply put, regardless of the rumors, and even the Cats Pause story is a rumor, there still remains a question as to whether such a deal has been consumated. I have to say….call me cautiously skeptical. I think there is a VERY good chance that Billy Donovan becomes the next Kentucky coach. However I question whether the deal has been agreed upon at this team. Many are speculating that UK and Donovan’s agent came to a preliminary deal this weekend and are now simply waiting for the tournament to finish before announcing it. I am confident that meetings have taken place and I believe Donovan is seriously considering the job. But I am not ready to say it is a done deal at this time.

What is clear is that UK is actively looking into other candidates…..although that list may be getting smaller. Rick Pitino says he is out (he was never in), John Calipari just signed an extension with Memphis and Billy Gillespie may be the new coach at Arkansas. But UK has made moves to talk to Jay Wright, Gillespie and Tom Izzo….all of whom are not Donovan. That suggests to me that UK has Donovan as the number one choice, but is actively making a solid look at a second choice…..which tells me that the deal is not DONE.

Bottom line is this…..the likelihood of Donovan becoming UK’s next coach continues to increase. His players were quoted today as saying they couldnt believe he would leave and dismissing the stories. I expect that there will be MAJOR pressure on him to stay, even from some of the same guys now being quoted. However Donovan refuses to say no to his interest in Kentucky, including today on PTI when Tony Kornheiser put him on the spot. Billy will listen to UK…..and I think the chances are high he becomes the next UK coach. I have spoken to a few people who have said to me today that the deal with Donovan is all done but the signing…..and maybe they are right. But the signing is still a MAJOR obstacle, especially with the intense media scrutiny of the Final Four coming. It may be “all over but the shouting”…..but in this case, the shouting is still an important component.

One last point…..the Cats Pause story which is now on WLEX and WAVE can have negative ramifications. This story coming out means that Billy Donovan will be bombarded with questions leading up to the Final Four and at the game….this will be a distraction for the team and could be a negative in the recruitment of Billy. Just something to think about…..

Article written by Matt Jones

86 responses to “Is the Deal Done?”

  1. Wildcatblue

    doubt it

  2. Flea

    I will believe it when he is standing at the Podium(sp?)with a UK Tie on being
    introduced as the new coach at the University of Kentucky.

  3. Daniel

    Agreed with 2

  4. JKW1974

    We can only hope it is so. I am also cautious in my view of this. Florida will also bid, but I also know it is a football school. If I were Billy D, I would want to be the biggest, baddest fish in a big pond, and he can do that here.

    Plus, it may just be the job he always wanted. As I said, I remain cautious…..who wants to be THAT disappointed if it doesn’t happen?

    If it does, I will never speak ill of Mitch….or of Ricky P, as he has to be involved in this in some fashion. Otherwise, I don’t think it would happen.

  5. cyeast97

    the story is now gone at catspause

  6. cyeast97

    oops, it’s still there

  7. loukat

    WAVE in Louisville just reported (citing Cats Pause/Bird) that the deal was DONE — 7 years / 28 million. Matt, any confirmation? Did WAVE jump the gun?

  8. lame duck tubby

    there will be no more satisfying moment in my life then when I get to ask Lex what he thinks abou t Donovan being the new head coach…. God that will be great.

  9. Chris

    Could someone post part of that article here. I’m not a catspause member and neither are probably a lot of people here.

  10. Jacob Adam Brooks

    Say it! SAY IT!!!

  11. Jatt Moans

    Can you imagine the roar when he is introduced at midnight madness?

  12. Han

    Possibly someone who shouldn’t have been talking was…

    After all, with Donovan coaching in the Final Four, under contract, and UK apparently not having asked for permission to talk to him yet…a done deal would seem a bit taboo. Of course, Minnesota asked for permission to talk to Tubby and he basically signed the next day, so we all know what really goes on. But this would be a major insult to Florida fans, I think, if true. Which is of course what so many of them are fearing as they swarm the UK boards calling us idiots for thinking we can get him.

    By the way, has anyone recorded the Dookie V rants to flood YouTube with in a couple years when he is praising Donovan and UK for being Elite?

  13. s-ram

    If this is true…………………..

    I can’t let myself go there yet. If I do and it does not happen I might not recover!!!!

  14. JKW1974

    This getting sort of crazy…Channel 6 in Paducah is reporting that a Lexington station is reporting on the Cat’s Pause article…..

  15. TubbyCAT

    Makes me wander, it really does and not in a good way!

  16. Jacob Adam Brooks

    … HAN!… Dude.. I think you’re my favoite person in the world right. My hatred for Lex so so strong that you seem to know be a very valuabale ally. I’ve been saying all day that Donovan is not lost… don’t know if this is true, but it seems irresponsible to say that you guarantee he’s gone when no nfo either way has come out, and I’ve been bashed by Lex all day… seeing you and knowing how positive you are seems like a blessing right now… dude, if Donovan is really coming then I’m buying you a drink someday!

  17. Daniel

    so that’s paducah, wave 3 and wlex 18 reporting it.

  18. Wes Deskins

    I’m not real happy with this story/rumor blowing up this soon on the public airwaves. I hope it doesn’t jeopardize any deal or offer that might exist. I’ve got to think that Donovan and his peeps won’t be happy about this. Meetch may have to do some damage control.

  19. Jacob Adam Brooks

    Oh yeah Han, I meant to say “Truce?” in the beginning of that post… I know we’ve been to war over the tubby smith situation, but it’s over now and I seem to be one of few on here trying to look positive for the future of the program…

  20. Raptorky

    WLEX said it was DONE. No bones about it DONE.

  21. Al Purnell

    It’s GOOOOOD…

    now suck my balls

  22. KY Hwy 60

    Absolutely nuts…on all sports channels here in the ville. But MJ I agree, thefat lady ain’t singing yet. On another subject, hw much of a pompus ass is lil ricky? Calls a news meeting to just say that he has no interest in the Kentucky job? That dude loves to pull the strings here in the ville and the media guys loves to lick his balls. Sorry lil ricky but I am here to tell you that you are tainted and we don’t want ya.

  23. UKWildcat831

    here’s a link on another message board that posted the Cats Pause article….

  24. Jacob Adam Brooks

    Could this explain Ricky, Cal’s and Billy G’s movements over the last few days… all the stories on them broke after Friday (when the deal with Donovans agent was supposedly reached.)

  25. Han

    JAB, I’ve said many times that I’m a UK fan first, and with Tubby moved on, I’m all about what is best for this team. Billy D is probably the answer, and so I’m on the Billy D bandwagon.

    I can easily believe a deal is in place, but if it is getting out now, there may be repercussions coming. Hopefully no rules get broken badly enough that we get in trouble.

    (I assume you’re talking about Lexslamman and not Lexington when you refer to hatred of Lex. I’m pretty sure Lexslamman is pure troll, based on some posts these last couple days.)

    You know, if Billy comes here, I’m not sure which is more exciting:
    The potential return to Final Fours and big recruits


    The dozens of high profile analysts who will be backpedaling and searching for ways to cover up their definitive claims that Billy D would never come to UK. Someone will have to make some compilations – hopefully WildcatThunder’s people are keeping track of the clips. Maybe Daniel or Ryan Parker will do a “We Didn’t Start The Fire” parody song using all their names.

    I backed Tubby while he was here, but as a poster said on one of the pay sites, “People say UK has dropped from the Elite in the past few years, but they also say we’re horrible for running off Tubby – you can’t have it both ways.” (paraphrased)

    Final Four? Ha. Who needs to be in the Final Four when UK will be dominating the headlines by acquiring the back-to-back champion – and rival – coach. (You know Florida will repeat)

  26. Han

    18) I raised the same worry minutes ago. The contract can’t be signed yet, and if this is true, Billy’s gonna have some bad experiences in the locker room and on the airwaves in the coming days. Of course, 24,000 screaming fans in Rupp when he gets announced will wash that away.

  27. Jatt Moans

    You don’t know that, #26. Maybe the team already knows………..

  28. Han

    27) True, but even if they do, if I were in their place, I’d be annoyed to have it confirmed that the team we just beat 6 times really could have our coach the moment they asked.

  29. c.scott

    I’m cautiously looking forward to the Eddie Munster era in Lexington…

  30. Han

    I wonder if Mike and Mike and Cold Pizza will look into this tomorrow or wait for official confirmation?

  31. Jatt Moans

    We’re not them, though, Han. It is possible that they are happy for him since most of them are going pro. I’m sure that if BD wanted this job as his dream job that he probably didn’t keep it that close to his chest.

  32. Jacob Adam Brooks

    my only concern is that it wasn’t supposed to be leaked yet and he may now back out of the deal… don’t think he’d do that, but… it’s always hanging there.

    Han, I posted on here yesterday I think that I’m totally devoting myself to throw it right in Vitale’s face if we Get Donovan. Vitale, Patrick, and Michael Smith were all saying that Donovan WAS NOT COMING! And they said it with such conviction that it really steamed me… I mean, how do you not leave the door open just slightly in case he does come. By screaming that there was no way he was coming he left him self wide open and some of us should let a few of these guys know it! Anyone else that I’m leaving off that list, who said there was no way in Hell Donovan was coming?

  33. Aaronedge

    It is also being rumored that John Pelphrey will join Donovan as an assistant. Not sure as to the veracity of that, but it is out there.

  34. Rob Gidel

    UF AD has read the story … sure hope this is true.

  35. TCCAT

    I told you guys months ago. OTS resigns, Donovan becomes coach in April. But
    you wouldn’t listen.

  36. Chandrathan

    33) That doesn’t make much sense, as Pelphrey would be the logical choice to replace Donovan at Florida!

  37. Han

    By the way, some folks at Rivals say that Pelphrey is coming with Donovan, and that is the reason he didn’t take the USF job.

  38. Aaronedge

    36, the rumor is that BD has asked him to come with him. Like I said, it’s not from my sources and I’m not reporting it. Just noting it. Why not Anthony Grant to UF?

  39. Syrus12

    Pel and Donovan at UK=Greatness

  40. loukat

    I don’t think this “leak” will undo any deal that has already been struck. Might cause some short term aggravation for BD, but these things happen. If he has decided to come already (a huge decision), I can’t imagine that an internet “rumor” (even if reported by local news) would unhinge everything. Also, there is always the possibility that the “leak” was intentional.

  41. catfaninsbca

    I understand the need for us to fill the position asap, but I gotta feel a bit of sympathy for Florida’s players and fans. All this buzz and not to mention the negotiation itself as a distraction. Donovan should be thinking only about his current team and game plan to take out UCLA. Period. I wouldn’t want a coach that would not put his team above all else right now. Even an opportunity as big as UK. Let the man coach, then decide.

  42. Han

    32) A LOT of people have said from their Soap Boxes that Donovan won’t come. Most cited the Pressure and that Florida could match any money.

    I’ve only seen one story that really noted the reasons he’d come.

    Among the people who said it would never happen are the two guys Jim Rome had on today, whoever they were. I think someone on Cold Pizza said it last week, too.

  43. Jacob Adam Brooks

    the reason he is considering coming with Donovan (should donovan come) is becuase he thinks the spot light of being lead assistant at a place like UK, might just be better then being head coack at a place like USF. Also, if Donovan signed for 7 years, that would Give Pel plenty of time to find a job should he not want to wait around for the UK job… if he does stay all 7… then maybe at that time Donovan is done and Pel takes over right then.

  44. Tim

    This could be why Patterson has been so inclined to keep UK in the mix.

  45. Rich Holt

    Everybody relax. This info was released because the major players(UK, Donovan’s side)wanted it released. Particularly in Barnhart’s UK athletic department, where leaks can be cause for termination. The deal is done, Donovan will be named UK head coach a couple of days after the Final Four.

  46. Anonymous

    What are the exact rules about this? Are we safe as long as no “offical” talks have been with BD himself, and just through his agent, or his wife?

  47. Chandrathan

    With Donovan we will be really good next year…

    With anyone else…we don’t make the tournament, so please God let this be true!

  48. Jacob Adam Brooks

    #41, if it’s donovan and he’s leaving Florida… then I’m perfectly fine with it… normally I’d think it was a bit unprofessional… but so many people have screamed in my face that theres no way he’s coming that if he does… I’ll be just too happy to care about the circumstances.

  49. Han

    45) Someone on Rivals mentioned the obvious point, as well. This info broke before the Final Four, but that’s not why. It broke today because of a certain burger game on Wednesday where 2 undecideds are playing.

  50. SoCal Will

    Matt, I feel your analysis is spot on! You are also wise to advise against a premature celebration. Billy and his handlers are aware of Bill Frieder’s ghost of ’89, and don’t want this championship he has worked so hard for ripped from his grasp. Thus, a signature is on hold and anything can happen!

  51. loother

    #41 If you had seen what Fl. fans were saying about us on our own message boards, You would say PISS on florida.
    OBTW PISS on duke.

  52. R2 UKFan

    Tubby’s agent talked to Minnesota before Mitch gave permission to talk. It is within the rules for Billy’s agent to talk to UK.

  53. Rob Gidel


  54. loother

    Now we’re catching on.

  55. Kyle

    Borderline retarded reporting by WLEX tonight though regardless if he comes or not. Even if this a done deal, why not let it ride and then break? If things don’t come true, someone’s getting the ax at 18.

  56. Jacob Adam Brooks

    Han! So you’re saying that they released this today on purpose so that Patterson and Lucas could know and it was a deliberate move by the AD? If so that is soooooo awesome! If he’s coming and Pat and Jai find out tomorrw then look out… we could land both and Calathes… (what do we do with Calathes, Jasper, and Lucas though???)

  57. Anonymous

    #56 – Jasper would leave.

  58. catfaninsbca

    I just think it’s instances like this that give UK the national “bad” name. Don’t get me wrong… No one would be better for the job than Donovan, but UK even with all their discretion, should have waited until after the games.

  59. b

    you can’t post premium information here … -Rob Gidel

  60. b

    there is the article for those who didnt see it

  61. keith

    This can’t be true. Someone is messing with the Big Blue Nation.

  62. Han

    Yeah, Jasper probably leaves, knowing Bradley would probably be ahead of him, as well as Calathes and possible Lucas, not to mention Porter possibly. Jasper could probably fit in better elsewhere. He’s still welcome here, though, as far as I am concerned.

    56) That would make sense, wouldn’t it? If the info were leaked intentionally, when would be better than before the McD game? And on Monday night, so they have all of Tuesday to think about it before playing on Wednesday, and being bombarded by reporters all the time.

    Matt, if we get any more support for this story, I hope you take full advantage of your “exclusive” rights to talk to the likes of Jai, Pat and Nick.

  63. Han

    61) If true, worst case scenario is that neither Jai or Pat comes here and we end up with the likes of Ford. That’s already a distinct possibility, so how much do we really have to lose? (Assuming no one seriously breaks compliance and gets us on probation.)

  64. b

    Well all i can say is Darrel Bird of tcp has a big pair if this isnt true or
    hurt the deal in some way.

  65. keith

    64) I’m with you on Bird. He could hang for this (at least in terms of future credibility), if it isn’t true.

  66. Bluebeard

    If this isn’t true….I will have to be confined in a padded cell. But if it is, YES SIR DONOVAN….”Sunshine Superman”… Sunshine came softly through my window today….Cause you’ve made your mind up forever to me mine.

  67. b

    65) Future credibility hell some of the crazies might put a bounty on his head

  68. keith

    67) That’s the only reason I can’t help but think it IS true…Maybe a Gator hacked into the catspause and posted some wild catnip for all of us.

  69. Daniel

    To the guy suggesting I do another song, no way. It’s bad enough that the sequel is INDEFINITELY postponed.

    UF’s president said that Billy owes it to himself to consider what UK has to offer

  70. Han

    Dude, I would write the song for you (the parody/remix of We Didn’t Start the Fire) if someone would help me in gathering the names of analysts and their statements. I’ve got a bit of a knack for parody lyrics.

    Then all you’d need to do is put together pictures of all their mugs. I could do that too. Just can’t sing – at all.

    Of course, that is a bit more Ryan’s style of video.

  71. Han

    If this does happen…does that mean that I have been incorrectly believing a million zillion years is a long time?

  72. Daniel

    I’m very familiar with Billy Joel’s work…after all, I grew up listening to classic rock.

    Are you thinking mp3s of their statements. We know Andy Katz and Dick Vitale said there’s no way.

    Drop me an email and I’ll see what I can do.

  73. Anonymous

    Han – a million zillion years is in reality only a couple of days!!!

  74. Crow

    It will be interesting to see how quickly Vitale forgets his “UK YOU GOT NO SHOT AT DONOVAN!” blather.

  75. Innocent Bystander

    “It is also being rumored that John Pelphrey will join Donovan as an assistant. Not sure as to the veracity of that, but it is out there.”

    I think I just got a woody!~

  76. R. Smith
  77. Josh

    Don’t blame Cats Pause. It was posted over there as a rumor. It was WLEX and WAVE’s fault for reporting a rumor.
    That is irresponsible journalism.

  78. jason
  79. David

    Dude, where has Dr. Bob been since the Billy D rumors started to abound? I think he is scared and the Florida fans are talking smack because they know they are about to lose the best coach they have ever had to us. I dont want to count my chickens before they hatch but it would be great if we could land a great coach that would unify the fan base and cripple a conference rival at the same time. I dont think any amount of money is too great considering how it would help us and hurt our opponents at the same time.

  80. pekingcat

    would you rather announce you were leaving (BD) before or after your team won the national championship…if he waits till after, it might be months because of celebrations and such, then he misses on recruits. if true…this was planned

  81. pekingcat

    also, a leak of the contract size “gotten” could be a hint to both UK and UF of what willbe expected when the time comes. could be the agent…a little game theory with first mover advantage

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